Vince Gill & Paul Franklin Bakersfield

Vince Gill & Paul Franklin Bakersfield
8
For much of the '60s, the town of Bakersfield, CA was the breeding ground for a new generation of country music heroes. What artists like Merle Haggard and Buck Owens shared was a raw, electrified style and songwriting skills that became admired not only by their peers in Nashville, but by the budding "country-rock" set as well. With Bakersfield, Gill and renowned pedal steel guitarist Franklin do a stellar job paying tribute to the impact that sound had on them with ten cuts equally split between Merle and Buck standards. There may be many other versions of "The Bottle Let Me Down" and "Together Again" out there, but what Gill and Franklin bring to them is an exceptional level of musicianship that underscores how brilliantly executed the original versions were. As one of Nashville's humblest stars, Gill's immense talents as both a guitarist and vocalist are often overshadowed by glitzier artists, but the kick he puts into "Branded Man" and "Foolin' 'Round" will surprise anyone who only knows him as a balladeer. The small combo arrangements perfectly suit Franklin as well, who weaves magic throughout. It's difficult to see another album topping Bakersfield as this year's best pure country release. (MCA Nashville)